Category: Feasts

Reflections On The Solemnity Of All Saints – November 1.

Reflections On The Solemnity Of All Saints – November 1.

REFLECTION ON SOLEMNITY OF ALL SAINTS, NOVEMBER 1, 2018.

“Where we are they were and where they are we shall be”

(Apoc 7:2-4.9-14; 1John 3:1-3; Matt 5:1-12)

Introduction-

Every November 1 is celebrated in Western Church as the Solemnity of All Saints, a feast that dates back to Pope Gregory IV (827-844) and Pope Gregory VII (1020-1085). Today the holy mother Church celebrates her sons and daughters, known and unknown whose efforts and virtues are considered to have earned them rewards with God. 

Many of them are ordinary people coming from all walks of life. Some of them are anonymous Christians: men and women in various cultures and in various ages who never had the opportunities of membership of the body of Christ but diligently and obediently followed the dictates of right conscience and bore witness to the Truth in their hearts. 

Many of our ancestors are therefore among those we celebrate their good deeds, and consequently of the beatific vision they now enjoy in heaven. Thus, the first reading of today bears witness to inumerable heroes and heroines of virtues: their number is uncountable, coming from every nation, from all tribes and people and tongues (Revelation 7).

Solemnity of All Saints includes three basic elements:

Thanksgiving: We give thanks to God for the lives of these array of saints; they are actually the masterpieces of God’s work now made “children of God indeed”. We do not in any way ascribe glory that belongs to God to the saints when we venerate them, rather we give glory to God through them; for their graces are God’s gifts to them. Today is a celebration of wonders of God’s graces in the saints.

Memorial: We consider their examples and emulate them. Their is no better and shorter way to Christian perfection than emulation of the heroic virtues of the saints. Their experiences are filled with practical theologies for life. St. Paul once asked his followers to emulate him as he emulates Christ (1 Corinthians 4:16). 

Celebration of Hope: When we consider the persecutions, difficulties and pains, these brothers of ours underwent for the sake of Christ and the Church, we are hopeful that God will always accompany us with his graces. What we suffer, they suffered, even more. Where we are they were, and where they are we shall one day be. God has not finished with us yet. Let us also have recourse to communion with the saints especially with our patron saints for they are eager to assist us in our prigrimage here.

As we celebrate the Church triumphant, let us pray that God may bestow on us through the prayers of so many intercessors an abundance of reconciliation with him and our neighbour which we earnestly long, through Christ our Lord. amen.

-Written By Fr.Leonard.

Feast Of Bartolo Longo -The Saint Who Was Once A Satanic Priest.

Feast Of Bartolo Longo -The Saint Who Was Once A Satanic Priest.

SINNER. SATANIST. SOCIAL WORKER. SAINT. 

Happy Feast day.

October 5: Feast of Blessed Bartolo Longo: Modern Rosary Saint.

A strange progression taken by Blessed Bartolo Longo. 

On February 11, 1841, a sweet tempered physician’s wife of Latiano, Italy, gave birth to a son whom she named Bartolo

Devoted to Our Lord and His Mother, she taught all her children to pray the Rosary daily and to visit and care for the poor, while Dr. Longo instilled in them a love of music and beauty. Bartolo would later describe himself as “a lively and impertinent imp, sometimes rather a rascal.” The priests who educated him found Bartolo to be highly intelligent, cordial, and accommodating although prone to a fiery temper.

When Bartolo was ten, his mother died. Slowly Bartolo began to drift away from his faith. Eventually he studied law from a private tutor, then attended the University of Naples to complete his education. It wasn’t the same University of Naples where St. Thomas Aquinas taught, but a dangerous place for Bartolo’s young mind. 

Searching for meaning in life, Bartolo became emneshed in the political movements and spiritism so popular with college students at that time in Italy. 

Deeply involved with a satanic sect, Bartolo aspired to the satanic priesthood, so he entered upon a long preparation of studies, fastings, and mortifications. On the night of his ordination by a satanic bishop, the walls of the “church” shook with thunder while blasphemous, disembodied shrieks knifed the air. Bartolo fainted with fright and for a while afterwards was deeply tormented and physically ill.

Despite this depression and nervousness, he exercised his satanic priesthood by preaching, officiating at satanic rites, and publicly ridiculing Catholicism and everyone and everything connected with it.

During these bleak years, the Longo family was besieging heaven for their wayward member. 

One day Bartolo seemed to hear the voice of his dead father begging him to return to God. Troubled, he paid a visit to one of his friends from Latiano, Professor Vincenzo Pepe, who was living and teaching near Naples. Shocked by Bartolo’s appearance, Pepe exclaimed, “Do you want to die in an insane asylum and be damned forever?”

When Bartolo admitted his mental confusion, Pepe took him under his wing. He introduced the troubled young man to many holy people who gave him support and counsel. One of these was a well-educated Dominican priest, Alberto Radente, who gave Bartolo a detailed course in the Catholic faith which included the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. After much study, prayer, and a lengthy confession, Bartolo was again admitted to the sacraments. 

On the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 1871, he was professed into the Third Order of St. Dominic and given the name of Brother Rosary in recognition of his favorite daily prayer.

To complete his break with satanism, the new convert made one final visit to a seance, held up a medal of Our Lady, and cried out that he renounced spiritism because it was “a maze of error and falsehood.” He then went to student parties and cafes, denouncing the “religion” he had formerly embraced and proclaiming his faith in the Catholic Church. This was a brave thing to do as the Catholic Church was, at that time, being suppressed. He considered becoming a priest but was discouraged by both friends and his spiritual director. After making a retreat, he discerned not to marry, but rather to devote himself unreservedly to God and Our Lady. He was later to write:

“I place myself, my God, in your hands; as a son I abandon myself to your fatherly embrace; roll and roll again this mud, it has nothing to say; it is enough that it serve your designs and not resist your will for which I was made. Ask, command, prohibit. What do you wish that I do, or that I not do? Lifted up, knocked down, suffering, dedicated to your works by sacrificing my will to yours, I can only say, as did Mary: ‘Behold I am your servant. 0 Lord, let it be done to me according to your Word.”

Friar Radente told Bartolo that he had to repair the damage he had caused to others, so he joined his pious friends in caring for the poor, sick, and needy. One of this pious group was the wealthy widow Countess Mariana di Fusco. The Countess commissioned Bartolo, who was a lawyer, to collect the rent from poor farmers on a vast tract of land she owned near the ancient city of Pompeii. She needed the money to support her five children. In 1872, Bartolo arrived in marshy Pompeii, accompanied by two armed escorts to protect him from bandits that overran the area. He was shocked and filled with pity at the ignorance, lack of faith, superstition, poverty, and moral corruption of the people. The aging priest in a decaying church rarely saw any parishioners. People and animals slept together in ramshackle, filthy quarters. How could Bartolo help? Bartolo later wrote:

“One day in the fields around Pompeii called Arpaia. . .I recalled my former condition as a priest of Satan. Father Alberto had told me repeatedly never again to think of, or reflect on (this), but I thought that perhaps as the priesthood of Christ is for eternity, so also the priesthood of Satan is for eternity.

So, despite my repentance, I thought: I am still consecrated to Satan, and I am still his slave and property as he awaits me in Hell. As I pondered over my condition, I experienced a deep sense of despair and almost committed suicide. Then I heard an echo in my ear of the voice of Friar Alberto repeating the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary:

‘One who propagates my Rosary shall be saved.’ These words certainly brought an illumination to my soul. Falling to my knees, I exclaimed: ‘If your words are true that he who propagates your Rosary will be saved, I shall reach salvation because I shall not leave this earth without propagating your Rosary.’ At that moment the little bell of the parish church rang out, inviting the people to pray the Angelus. This incident was like a signature to my firm decision.”

Later he wrote: “What is my vocation? To write about Mary, to have Mary praised, to have Mary loved.”

Bartolo lost no time. He made repeated trips to the Valley of Pompeii to teach the people how to pray the Rosary. Beginning in 1873, he organized a yearly Rosary feast, incorporating music, fireworks, races, and a lottery into it. In 1875, as part of a parish mission, he invited a group of priests to speak about devotion to the Rosary. To conclude the mission, he promised to display a painting of Our Lady of the Rosary, and the painting that he obtained has been the cause of numerous miracles of healing. He constructed a church to hold this image and then, around it, an entire city dedicated to helping orphans and the poor. He also wrote books about the Rosary and composed novenas and a prayer manual. In all of these works, he was assisted by the Countess. 

When evil rumors began to spread about the relationship between the widow and the handsome, intelligent lawyer, Bartolo and the Countess consulted their friend Pope Leo XIII, a great devotee of the Rosary. “Lawyer, you are free; Countess, you are a widow; get married and no one can say anything against you.” So on April 7, 1885, they were married. In this chaste union, for Bartolo had taken a vow of chastity, the couple continued their charitable works until the Countess’s death in 1924.

Bartolo was tireless in his work. He founded a congregation of Dominican nuns to help educate the orphans in his city and also brought in the Christian Brothers for the boys. He urged people to learn the catechism and worked to have defined by Rome the doctrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. After laboring fifty years for his “Lady,” Bartolo was the object of calumny and slander as lies spread about his mishandling of funds. He bore these with resignation and was cleared of all charges. In 1906, Bartolo turned all his property, including his own personal property, over to the Holy See. He then assisted the new head of the administration and continued to work in the city he had built, but only as a humble employee. He remained at his work at the Shrine until he was 85-years-old, ever promoting the Rosary and going to confession twice weekly.

Over the years his prayer had become so intense that one of those who saw him could say: “I often saw him with his arms outstretched and his eyes fixed on heaven or on the image of Our Lady, or even with his eyes half-closed, totally enraptured without being aware of those around or near him.” 

Asked if he saw the Blessed Mother, Bartolo would answer, “Yes, but not as she is in heaven.” During his last hours on October 5, 1926, he prayed the Rosary, surrounded by the orphans whom he so loved. “My only desire is to see Mary, who has saved me and who will save me from the clutches of Satan,” he said with his final breath. On October 26, 1980, Pope John Paul II pronounced Bartolo Longo Blessed, calling him the “Man of Mary.”

Mass Of The Feast Of The Nativity Of The Blessed Virgin Mary 

Mass Of The Feast Of The Nativity Of The Blessed Virgin Mary 


​Saturday 8th September 2018

Weekday (22)

Vestment: White

Today’s Rosary: The Joyful Mystery
The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Feast)

Today’s feast originated in Jerusalem towards the end of the fifth century. Mary was chosen in a special way to be the handmaid of the Lord and to play an important part in the history of salvation and in the mystery of our redemption. With the whole Church we honour Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Entrance
Antiphon.

Let us celebrate with joy the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for from her arose the sun of justice, Christ our God.

The Gloria in excels is (Glory to God in the highest) is said.

The Gloria

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father. Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer; you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
 

Collect

Impart to your servants, we pray, O Lord, the gift of heavenly grace, that the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin may bring deeper peace to those for whom the birth of her Son was the dawning of salvation. Through our Lord…
 

FIRST READING

The time when she who is in labour pains has brought forth.

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Micah (Micah 5:2-5a).

Thus says the Lord: You, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labour pains has brought forth; then the rest of his brethren shall return to the sons of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And this shall be peace.
The word of the Lord.
Or the following:

FIRST
READING

Those whom God foreknew he also predestined.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans (Romans 8:28-30).

Brethren: We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
The word of the Lord.
 

RESPONSORIAL
PSALM 

Psalm 13:5.6 (R.Isaiah 61:10a)

R. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord.
As for me, I trust in your merciful love.

Let my heart rejoice in your salvation. R.
I will sing to the Lord

who has been bountiful with me. R.
 

ALLELUIA

Alleluia. Blessed are you, O holy Virgin Mary, and worthy of all praise, because from you arose the sun of justice, Christ our God. Alleluia.
 

GOSPEL

That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 1:1-16.18-23)

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah  the father of Asa, and Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father  of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

*Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and  her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (which means, God with us).
The Gospel of the Lord.
Shorter form: Matthew 1:18-23. Read between*
 

Today’s Reflection.

The work of the Holy Spirit in human life emerges as an apparent scandal. Mary is betrothed to joseph but before they come to live together, she is found to be pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Her child will challenge the prevailing understanding of the law, eat with tax collectors and sinners, and make claims that sound blasphemous. However, this is not a scandal but the work of God. Joseph never gets to carry out his quiet divorce; instead he cooperates in the divine plan. He takes Mary into his home because he realizes after the dream that her condition is not a scandal but the work of God. He shelters her and names the child ‘Jesus’. The naming is important for the very presence of the child is a catalyst for clarifying his identity and mission. He is the presence of God that does not depart even when he is no longer physically present. Let us imitate the example of the cooperation of Mary and Joseph in the divine plan of salvation.
 
Today’s Prayer
.

Thank God for today’s feast.

Take the song, “Holy Ghost, do it again, do it again in my life.
Father grant me a glimpse of your glory in the name of Jesus.
Pray for the grace to be attentive to the voice of the spirit.
Pray for revival of the authentic gifts of vision and revelation among believers

A Prayer By St. Padre Pio.

Stay With Me 

Stay with me, Lord, for it is necessary to have you present so that I do not forget you, you know how easily I abandon you. Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak, and I need you strength, that I may not fall so often, stay with me, Lord, for you are my life, and without you, I am without fervor. Stay with me, Lord, for you are my light, and without you, I am in darkness. Stay with me, Lord, to show me your will. Stay with me, Lord, for I desire to love you very much, and always be in your company. Stay with me, Lord, if you wish me to be faithful to you. Stay with me, Lord, for as poor as my soul is, I want it to be a place of consolation for you, a nest of love. Stay with me, Jesus, for it is getting late and the day is coming to a close, and life passes; death, judgment, eternity approaches. It is necessary to renew my strength, so that I will not stop along the way and for that, I need you. It is getting late and death approaches, I fear the darkness, the temptations, the dryness, the cross, the sorrows. O how I need you, my Jesus, in this night of exile! Stay with me tonight, Jesus, in life with all its dangers. I need you. Let me recognize you as your disciples did at the breaking of the bread, so that the Eucharistic Communion be the Light which disperses the darkness, the force which sustains me, the unique joy of my heart. Stay with me, Lord, because at the hour of my death, I want to remain united to you, if not by communion, at least by grace and love. Stay with me, Jesus, I do not ask for divine consolation, because I do not merit it, but the gift of your presence, oh yes, I ask this of you! Stay with me, Lord, for it is you alone I look for, your love, your Grace, your Will, your Heart, your Spirit, because I love you and ask no other reward but to lobe you more and more. With a firm love, I will love you with all my heart while on earth and continue to love you perfectly during all eternity. Amen.

What Is The Assumption Of Mary? 

What Is The Assumption Of Mary? 

The Assumption of Mary

by Father William Saunders

Addressing a jubilant crowd of more than 500,000 people packed into St. Peter’s Square, Pope Pius XII solemnly defined in Munificentissimus Deus on Nov. 1, 1950, that the “Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” Although the solemn definition may have been at the midpoint of the 20th century, the belief in the Assumption of our Blessed Mother exemplifies the dynamism of revelation and the Church’s ongoing understanding of it as guided by the Holy Spirit.

Granted, the word Assumption does not appear in Sacred Scripture. For this reason many fundamentalists who literally interpret the Bible would have a difficulty with this belief. Nevertheless, we must first pause and reflect on the role of our Blessed Mother in the mystery of salvation, for this provides the foundation for the belief in the Assumption.

We firmly believe that from the first moment of her conception Mary was free of all sin, including Original Sin, by a special favor of almighty God. The Archangel Gabriel recognized her as “full of grace,” “blessed among women” andone with the Lord.” Mary had been chosen to be the Mother of our savior. By the power of the Holy Spirit, she conceived our Lord Jesus Christ, and through her, true God became also man, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

During her lifetime, although the Gospel citations are limited, Mary always presented our Lord to others: to Elizabeth and her son, John the Baptist, who leapt for joy in the womb at the presence of the Lord still in his own mother’s womb; to the simple shepherds as well as the wise Magi; and to the people at Cana, when our Lord acquiesced to His mother’s wish and performed the first miracle.

Moreover, Mary stood at the foot of the cross with her Son, supporting Him and sharing in His suffering through her love as only a mother could do. Finally, she was with the Apostles at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended and the Church was born. Therefore, each of us can step back and see Mary as the faithful servant of God who shared intimately in the birth, life, death and resurrection of our Lord.

For these reasons we believe that the promises our Lord has given to each of us of sharing eternal life, including a resurrection of the body, were fulfilled in Mary. Since Mary was free of Original Sin and its effects (one of which is corruption of the body at death), since she shared intimately in the life of the Lord and in His passion, death and resurrection, and since she was present at Pentecost, this model disciple appropriately shared in the bodily resurrection and glorification of the Lord at the end of her life. (Note that the solemn definition does not specify whether Mary physically died before being assumed or just was assumed; it simply states, “Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life…”)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, also quoting the Byzantine Liturgy, states, “The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians: ‘In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition (falling asleep) you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death'” (No. 966).

The belief in the Assumption of our Blessed Mother has been longstanding in our Church. We must remember that the early Church was preoccupied with resolving questions about Christ, particularly His incarnation and the hypostatic union (His divine and human natures). However, in addressing these questions, the Church gradually defined the titles of Mary as Mother of God and as New Eve, and the belief of the Immaculate Conception, all of which form the basis for the Assumption.

In Munificentissimus Deus, Pope Pius XII cited various Church Fathers to trace the longstanding tradition of the belief of the Assumption–St. John Damascene, St. Andrew of Crete, St. Modestus of Jerusalem and St. Gregory of Tours, to name a few. Bishop Theoteknos of Livias (c. 550- 650) delivered one of the most comprehensive early sermons concerning the Assumption: “For Christ took His immaculate flesh from the immaculate flesh of Mary, and if He had prepared a place in heaven for the Apostles, how much more for His mother; if Enoch had been translated and Elijah had gone to heaven, how much more Mary, who like the moon in the midst of the stars shines forth and excels among the prophets and Apostles? For even though her God-bearing body tasted death, it did not undergo corruption, but was preserved incorrupt and undefiled and taken up into heaven with its pure and spotless soul.”

St. John Damascene (d. 749) also recorded an interesting story concerning the Assumption: “St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.” In all, the Patristic Fathers defended the Assumption on two counts: Since Mary was sinless and a perpetual virgin, she could not suffer bodily deterioration, the result of Original Sin, after her death. Also, if Mary bore Christ and played an intimate role as His mother in the redemption of man, then she must likewise share body and soul in His resurrection and glorification.

The Byzantine Emperor Mauritius (582602) established the celebration of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15 for the Eastern Church. (Some historians speculate that the celebration was already widespread before the Council of Ephesus in 431). By the end of the 6th century, the West likewise celebrated the Feast of the Assumption. While the Church first emphasized the death of Mary, gradual shifts in both title and content occurred so that by the end of the 8th century, the Gregorian Sacramentary had prayers for Assumption Day.

The Feast of the Assumption gives each of us great hope as we contemplate this one facet of the beautiful woman of faith, our Blessed Mother. Mary moves us by example and prayer to grow in God’s grace, to be receptive to His will, to convert our lives through sacrifice and penance, and seek that everlasting union in the heavenly Kingdom.

In 1973, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in their letter Behold Your Mother,” stated, “Christ has risen from the dead, we need no further assurance of our faith. Mary assumed into heaven serves rather as a gracious reminder to the Church that our Lord wishes all whom the Father has given Him to be raised with Him. In Mary taken to glory, to union with Christ, the Church sees herself answering the invitation of the heavenly Bridegroom.”


Fr. Saunders is pastor of Queen of Apostles Parish and president of Notre Dame Institute, both in Alexandria.

%d bloggers like this: